Surface Water

Surface Water

Surface water sources include rivers and streams. Untreated river water is not recommended for drinking or cooking.


  • Install water filters at your kitchen tap. Water filters remove a range of contaminants from the water, but you will need to choose the best type for you.
  • Maintain and replace your filters, following the manufacturers instructions. Neglected filters may release germs and chemicals into the water.
  • Untreated river water should always be boiled before using for drinking, cooking and washing food. This is particularly important for people with lower immune response (very young children, older people, and people with a chronic illness).


When and how to boil water

To be certain that your water is safe, you may choose to have your water tested. You can seek advice on collection, timing and the number of water samples from your local council. A fee may be charged for this service. 'One off' samples can be misleading.

For more information on the quality of your surface water, contact:

How can surface water get contaminated?

Surface waters are subject to biological and chemical contamination which may come from:

  • stock access
  • native/feral animals
  • septic tanks
  • dairies and piggeries
  • stormwater run-off
  • pesticides and fertilisers from farm land and forestry operations.

More information

Is untreated river water safe to drink?

December 2020